Curbside Splendor is thrilled to announce the winner of our second annual Wild Onion Novella Contest, Joan Wilking, whose work Mycology was selected by guest judge Lindsay Hunter. "I loved it," says Hunter about Mycology. "A gem of a book, brutal and exact yet tender and searching."
Mycology will be published as a limited-edition print run and as an ebook in April 2017 to coincide with Chicago's Independent Bookstore Day.
Please enjoy this excerpt from Mycology —
"On that night in 1955, when the tree fell in the bird sanctuary north of Boston, a cold front swept down from the Canadian Maritimes, slammed into the heat wave, which had held the Northeast from Maine to Maryland in its humid thrall for several days, and dared the wind to come out to play. The wind nodded its head, laughed at the convergence, which set it loose, and puffed itself up into a swirl of such force it dragged torrential rains, and for a short time, hail the size of grapes with it.
The old pin oak felt it coming, tensed its shallow roots, and tried to extend them deeper into the parched forest floor, but it had been an unusually dry winter and spring. The earth was loose and granular. There was nothing much to hold onto. At first the tree thought the wind might pass; it had started with such a gentle rustle. The drop in the temperature was, to be perfectly honest, something of a relief before the wind picked up speed. With the increased velocity came a force so sudden and powerful it flipped the tree’s leaves over backwards, bent and broke its branches, and as the tree tried desperately to maintain its connection, tore its roots from the rain pummeled earth and toppled it."
Joan Wilking's short fiction has been published in The Atlantic, The Bellevue Literary Review, The Barcelona Review, Other Voices, The Mississippi Review, Ascent, The MacGuffin, Hobart and many other literary journals and anthologies online and in print. Her story, "Deer Season," was a finalist for the 2010 Nelson Algren Short Story Competition of the Chicago Tribune. Her story, "Clutter," received a special mention in the 2016 Pushcart Prize XL Anthology. Her stories, "The Real Story," "Letitia Comes Clean," and "Smoked" are in the most recent editions of Clackamas, The MacGuffin and Elm Leaves. She has also contributed creative nonfiction to The Manifest Station and New World Writing. She lives and works at the edge of the earth overlooking Plum Island Sound in Ipswich, Massachusetts.